• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Kyari pushes for agricultural boost to tackle inflation


Abubakar Kyari, the minister of agriculture and food security has urged state governors to ramp up agricultural production, as a tool to address the increasing food inflation in the country.

Kyari stated this while receiving AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq; executive governor of Kwara, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa; governor of Ondo state, Agbu Kefas; governor of Taraba State and Ahmed Usman Ododo; governor of Kogi State in Abuja on Monday.

According to the minister, effective collaboration among governments was necessary to drive down food inflation, create employment, and reduce poverty.

He said, “Your excellencies, we are aware that in your respective states, agriculture has witnessed noticeable development over the years. The bigger picture we seek to create now is to vastly increase agricultural production all-year round with the cardinal objective of driving down food inflation, creating employment, reducing poverty, engendering economic growth and development, as well promoting inclusivity. We are confident that we can partner in the realization of these objectives.

“There is no question that if we get things right now, and without an iota of doubt with all hands on the plough, future programmes and projects will enable us more seamlessly achieve all-year-round agricultural production with beneficial consequences for economic empowerment, inclusivity and ultimately wider opportunities for value addition, food and nutrition security as well as industrialization.”

The minister noted that the meetings with state governors were in preparation for the second phase of the Dry Season Food Production Programme under the National Agricultural Growth Scheme and Agro-Pocket (NASG-AP).

Noting the challenges encountered during the first phase of the dry season farming with wheat in 15 participating states, the minister said that there will be additional implementation guidelines for the second phase.

Among the guidelines is the establishment of a NAGS-AP state working committee to be chaired by the executive governor or his representative.

He also stressed that the more involved the sub-national governments are the more sustainable agricultural production becomes and the higher the chances of realizing the interconnected 8-Point Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“The phase we are about to get into is particularly crucial because, unlike the phase one for wheat production, which involved only 15 States, the second phase will cover the entire country. We will therefore, like you to use the instrumentality of your offices as Governors to ensure the readiness of your respective States for optimal participation in this second phase for the cultivation of rice, maize, and cassava.

“Among the readiness criteria that we would like to reiterate for this phase are that the land is prepared and available for immediate cultivation; that the irrigable lands are allotted or owned by verifiable genuine farmers; and that the state is participating to the last mile of the entire chain,” he said.

In his remarks, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the executive governor of Kwara State said that the ministry of agriculture should be made the administrator of agricultural programs in the country. This according to him was necessary to drive impactful programmes and interventions.

He said, “the emphasy is that the Minister of Agriculture should be the one stop shop. The previous programme of going through the central bank was a bit challenging. We could not achieve what we wanted to achieve.

“The matter of food security is paramount and it is an urgency of now. We need to take advantage of the dry season farming, the Ministry has come up with the program emphasizing rice, cassava and maize. So we want to take advantage of the program and urgently make sure we improve our yield to deliver to Nigeria population. It will get to a stage where Nigeria export to the rest of West African. Nigeria food is the cheapest in West Africa today.”